Acute basilar artery occlusion (BAO) is a rare large-vessel occlusion associated with high morbidity and mortality. Modern thrombectomy with stent retrievers and large-bore aspiration catheters is highly effective in achieving recanalization, but a direct comparison of different techniques for acute BAO has not been performed. Therefore, the authors sought to compare the technical effectiveness and clinical outcomes of stent retriever–assisted aspiration (SRA), aspiration alone (AA), and a stent retriever with or without manual aspiration (SR) for treatment of patients presenting with acute BAO and to evaluate predictors of clinical outcome in their cohort.
A retrospective analysis of databases of large-vessel occlusion treated with endovascular intervention at two US endovascular neurosurgery centers was conducted. Patients ≥ 18 years of age with acute BAO treated between January 2013 and December 2020 with stent retrievers or large-bore aspiration catheters were included in the study. Demographic information, procedural details, angiographic results, and clinical outcomes were extracted for analysis.
Eighty-three patients (median age 67 years [IQR 58–76 years]) were included in the study; 33 patients (39.8%) were female. The median admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score was 16 (IQR 10–21). Intravenous alteplase was administered to 26 patients (31.3%). The median time from symptom onset to groin or wrist puncture was 256 minutes (IQR 157.5–363.0 minutes). Overall, successful recanalization was achieved in 74 patients (89.2%). The SRA technique had a significantly higher rate of modified first-pass effect (mFPE; 55% vs 31.8%, p = 0.032) but not true first-pass effect (FPE; 45% vs 34.9%, p = 0.346) than non-SRA techniques. Good outcome (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score 0–2) was not significantly different among the three techniques. Poor outcome (mRS score 3–6) was associated with a higher median admission NIHSS score (12.5 vs 19, p = 0.007), a higher rate of adjunctive therapy usage (9% vs 0%, p < 0.001), and a higher rate of intraprocedural complications (10.7% vs 14.5%, p = 0.006). The admission NIHSS score significantly predicted good outcome (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.97–0.099; p = 0.032). Incomplete recanalization after thrombectomy significantly predicted mortality (OR 1.68, 95% CI 1.18–2.39; p = 0.005).
The evaluated techniques resulted in high recanalization rates. The SRA technique was associated with a higher rate of mFPE than AA and SR, but the clinical outcomes were similar. A lower admission NIHSS score predicted a better prognosis for patients, whereas incomplete recanalization after thrombectomy predicted mortality.